Bermuda and BVI face EU pressure on tax reform

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​The European Union is expected to add Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands (BVI), Israel and Russia to a so-called grey-list of tax-havens, according to a draft version seen Wednesday (9 February) by EUobserver.

The grey-list, which is to grow from 15 to 25 jurisdictions, is to be adopted by EU ministers on 24 February, the EU Council said.

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  • The British Virgin Islands: the British protectorate was at the heart of the Panama Papers revelations (Photo: JaguarJulie)

Countries included in the list are judged by the EU not to have met promises on tax reform. Inclusion also can represent a serious public relations headache for those listed.

The grey-list is published alongside a so-called black-list of the worst-offenders that face EU sanctions. But that list is expected to stay unchanged this month.

Tax-reform campaigners cautiously applauded the news.

“If the [new] grey-listing … is confirmed, we will see some real tax-havens finally at risk to be blacklisted,” Chiara Putaturo of Oxfam told EUobserver.

She said the inclusion of 10 more countries on the grey-list was due to a modification of the EU criteria.

“However, there are still other tax havens that are left off the hook … such as the Cayman Islands, because the criteria remain weak,” she said.

There were 676 BVI-registered offshore companies in Pandora Papers last year – the latest in a line of leaks revealing the scale of global tax evasion.

The second highest number – 102 – was in Panama, a country that is already on the EU blacklist.

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